Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?



The argument

None of the attempts to justify God, though able, standing by and doing nothing when the innocent suffer from disease and are hurt mercilessly by others work. For example the free will of the evil is allowed to destroy the free will of the good.

So religion resorts to saying that what happens to them is a mystery. It is an insult to say that when every possible avenue has been explored and found to have a dead end. An answer that fails is not a neutral thing. The answer fails for it is morally bad or in some way evil.

The mystery doctrine is only a cop out. What is wrong with that?

#A cop out is bad for it is manipulative.

# It is bad with such a serious question.

# It is bad when every possible avenue for explaining how God can be loving is a bad avenue.

# Answers would inspire us to admire and join in God's loving plan so we are left bereft.

# Ignorance is nothing to boast about or to give glory to by founding a religion or faith on it.

There are no possible suggestions why God might allow terrible things to happen. And suggestions amount to being no better than arguments like, "Hitler our dictator does alarming things but there are indications that it is not all bad so we should trust him to do what is best and wait and see. There are suggestions that it is better than what it seems." It is dismissive. Being dismissive shows one does not grasp how terrible life is for so many others. The argument then that evil is a mystery is not really an argument. It is refusing to deal with the issue.

Religion will argue that those who say evil shows that belief in God must be rejected are refusing to deal with the issue as well. Is that true?

It will not ask though if it is true, who is refusing the most to deal with it? Is it the believer or is it the atheist? Is it equally true of both sides?

To say there is a God of compassion when things happen that say otherwise is refusing to deal with the issue. The believer and the person who contradicts this believer's faith in God cannot both be evading the issue. One of them has to be dealing with it.

To call evil a mystery necessitates accusing sceptics of the existence of God of not really caring about the issue and dealing with it. The mystery doctrine then depends on doing evil as in making false or unfounded accusations. So clearly the person callously refusing to care enough about evil is the believer.

The believer is happy to risk accusing God of allowing evil to happen when there is evidence for God. You can accuse and find guilty without realising it or meaning to. Justice is a principle. They will deny that this is accusing. But if you say that x has done something that hurts others you cannot say that without implying they may be doing it with bad intentions.

If you accuse a person who does not exist of having done bad things that is unfair. If you merely say they have done without any accusation overtones that is still unfair.

The person not existing is not the point. The point is you are being unfair. God then has to tell us why evil is needed. Us finding good reasons why he might allow it means we are speaking for him. No decent person speaks for a tyrant - the tyrant has to explain himself. Only he can clear his name.

And if the creator is not good and not evil but amoral what then? To say God needs good is to admit that he may in fact be evil though this possibility could be slim. It is immoral to raise the question, "Is God bad?" about an amoral God. Why? To say a God that is not being immoral, a good god or an amoral one, is immoral if in fact he is not immoral.

The notion of God allowing terrible things and not saying why suggests he wants us to put him above those things.

The biggest reason to believe in God according to some is that God forgives us all for we are all sinners and heals lives and helps us all to move along together. If this forgiveness argument can be debunked then we prove that there is a bigger refusal to deal with evil in the believer than in the atheist. It can be debunked conclusively. Somebody hurts you. What if you have only one of 2 choices? You can forgive them or you can free yourself from the anger thus do fine without forgiving. Forgiving and dealing with the pain are two different things. It is the difference between forgiving and releasing. You can refuse to forgive Hitler but that does not mean you are trapped in negative emotions that harms only you. So deal with the pain and forget about the forgiveness. There is no mystery about the fact that reason proves that God is not the be all and end all. The mystery doctrine assumes he is but he cannot be. It is more important to just help a baby than to do it for the love of God. That is obvious. The mystery doctrine is immoral for it makes honouring God the only thing that ultimately matters.

If there is no loving God at all but only uncaring nature then it is to be expected that religious people will try and excuse how terrible suffering happens by saying it is a mystery. Their saying that is considered socially acceptable. But people are forgetting that to say it is to make an excuse or risk making one both of which insult the suffering of the innocent. Even if it is true that evil is a mystery, it does not follow that anybody says it is a mystery because it is true but because they want to make an excuse.

If you want to protect an evil person from exposure as evil, you will try to prevent anybody seeing the evil. One way you will do this is by saying that perhaps there is a supernatural reason why he is justified in doing what he does. The believer might intend to protect their faith in a loving God from being refuted by evil. The believer might not. In that case, the risk is still being taken. The risk is wrong and evil. Sensible risks are not based on ideas that cannot be tested. They are based on an interpretation of evidence. The risk the believers take is not a real risk but foolhardiness.

If there is no God, then believers are protecting themselves and others from finding out.

You might say they are sometimes hoping that there is a good answer as to why people are allowed by almighty God to endure terrible and relentless suffering. But surely their job is not to hope that others are getting a favour under the circumstances but to help them? It is their own suffering they should hope for. Suffering being somebody else's not yours makes it easier for you to think about helping them. The gut instinct you have is that it has happened to them not you and that is good.

You can verify that you cannot verify a supernatural claim such as that a supernatural power is right to supernaturally let evil happen. You cannot just say that evil is a mystery. You need evidence that it is a mystery. You can look for evidence for anything even if it is just to prove to people that there are truths we don't know even if we don't know what those truths are. If anybody has a right to call evil a mystery, it would have to be a very diligent and clever theologian. That the Christian layperson thinks they have the right to say it is disgusting.

The notion of the mystery of evil is itself evil. Is it a necessary or unnecessary evil? Only the evidence can tell us. You need evidence that it is a mystery. And the evidence has to be very very good. And believing that evil is a mystery has to benefit us too. If you make mistakes and deliberately or accidentally condone a God allowing evil to happen you are administering a pain killer to yourself. You are giving yourself emotional opium. That could explain why generally speaking, religion does not do much good.

Only you can get evidence that your suffering is a mystery. You have no right to tell yourself that somebody else’s suffering is a mystery. Belief in God forces you to say that it is. Thus belief in God is immoral.

In the Book of Job, Satan persuades God to torment a holy and almost perfect man called Job. God did so. When Job asked God for an explanation God engaged in a pile of evasions. He pretended to be giving an answer and he was not. In the end, God just got Job to conclude that there is no answer. God however restored Job's fortunes at the end of the story. This indicated that God was against what was happening to Job though he permitted it to happen. But the justification for what happened is not given. If you need God's permission to be free and to be happy then you are a lot of things but free is not one of them!

If God has not told us why he lets evil happen but only gives us a little light and possible reasons then you can say evil is a secret.

A secret and a mystery are sometimes distinguished. Believers who find that every single reason as to why God might allow evil to happen is wrong and then resort to saying it is a mystery. A secret is that which is hidden from you. A mystery is something you may never ever understand even if you get all the facts.

If your child dies after years of agony it is tempting to think God should tell you why. Religion answers that he is not obligated to. It is his creation. You are not in a position to order God about. That is not a very nice answer when you think about it. It is insensitive. And if there is no God then it is cruel and criminal.

Some religious people say that God has given us a little light - we have a little help. "It is a mystery why the innocent suffer but part of it could be about how God needs to have regard for our free will, wants to help us become stronger people through suffering and so on." But they are assuming possible reasons but possible reasons are not actual reasons. There is a difference. You have no right to show indifference to the free will of a victim by arguing that God may want to respect the free will of her persecutor. That is a callous disregard for the free will of the victim. You have no right to suggest that a person may be suffering for God is lovingly administering discipline to that person. It does not matter if you think these are only some of the reasons but not all of them. Seeing the stuff about free will or discipline as a little light shows that the believer does not think they justify God letting evil happen on their own. So if they are that bad then they are not a little light at all. The believers are pretending that evil is a mystery. They know it is not.

Our conclusion is that the saying, "Evil is a baffling mystery, in your case. And in her's. And in his. And in general" should be translated. "Evil and God don't mix so we need a cop out."